Keanu Reeves makes his directorial debut in the action film Man of Tai Chi, described by some as a modern Kung fu picture. It's the story of a talented young martial artist named Chen Lin-Hu (played by Tiger Hu Chen) and his spiritual journey into the big-money underworld fight game. As the matches become more demanding, he strengthens his resolve to survive.
Reeves also portrays the film's main villain. Interestingly, Tiger Hu Chen was Reeves' martial arts coach for The Matrix trilogy, and the story for this movie is loosely based on Chen's own life. Singer/actress Karen Mok, best known for her role in Around the World in 80 Days, plays Hong Kong police captain Sun Jingshi, with Simon Yam (Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster) as Superintendent Wong.
The screenplay was written by Michael G. Cooney, known for writing the adaptation and dialogue for Resident Evil 6.
In the official trailer (below), we see a deeply conflicted Lin-Hu who is reluctant to dishonor himself by using Tai Chi for financial gain. Reeves' directing style is tight, atmospheric and visually gripping; he is well-suited for this genre. On the acting side, he is convincing as Lin-Hu's enemy.
Man of Tai Chi premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and opened in China over the summer. It makes its debut in U.S. theaters Nov. 1, 2013.
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